People's Choice: My funny Valentine

This Saturday is the day that’s made for lovers. So in the spirit of romance, we asked several Penn people to share with us their most memorable Valentine’s Day experiences—gifts or events, good or bad. We’re heartened that most of the memories our respondents shared with us were good ones, but we did manage to unearth a tale of unrequited love—as it turned out, from the only male who answered our question.

Cristi Alberino
Ph.D. Candidate, Graduate School of Education

“After years of an on-again, off-again relationship, my then-ex-boyfriend Tom called the weekend before Valentine’s Day. He suggested we ‘run away and get married’ for the holiday. I responded sarcastically that he had better find a huge ring if he wanted me to marry him. On Valentine’s Day a package arrived. In it was a giant, plastic diamond ring that fit on my wrist with a note that read simply, ‘Is this big enough?’ We are now back together, but still not married!”

Desiree Rivers
Administrative Assistant, School of Arts and Sciences Business Office

“A keychain from an ex-boyfriend. It was half a heart. It was from a really nice jeweler. I think it might have been from Tiffany’s. And I still haven’t gotten a present as good yet.”

Trisha Yannuzzi
Administrative Director, IRCS

“I think this Valentine’s Day will be the best, because Michael Bublé will be at the Borgata, and my husband’s taking me to see him.” (Bublé is a 20-year-old Canadian who sings old and current pop hits in the style of Frank Sinatra.)

Eric Pancoast
Research Fellow, IRCS

“I was in middle school, and there was this girl down the street that I thought was cute. I made her this box with a diamond-like thing on it—it was plastic, see—I dressed it up and wrote on it ‘To Christine, Love, Eric,’ and I gave it to her and asked if she would go out with me. She refused to take it. She totally turned me down. Needless to say, I was heartbroken, but I got over it in about a week.”

Delphine Dahan
Assistant Professor of Psychology

“It was my first Valentine’s Day in the United States. My husband-to-be and I went into a restaurant, and every woman there was wearing a bright red dress. I knew something about Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t know about this red theme, that people would dress up so much.”

Laurel Sweeney
Program Coordinator, IRCS

“I was working at ShopRite, and I had won an award for an outstanding store decoration. The prize was dinner for two at the Fountain Restaurant at the Four Seasons. I shared this with my husband, by the way. When I sat down, there was a red rose at my table. Free dinner at the Four Seasons and a red rose! That was way cool.”

Originally published on February 12, 2004